The scale of the Hamas attacks during the High Holy Days War was far beyond what anyone expected. While Hamas has a lot of people, the number of trained front-line combat-ready Jihadists who could operate at that level is far smaller. And Israel would have had eyes on a lot of them. The full picture is still being assembled but it seems likely that the attack drew on Jihadists beyond those of just Hamas.
Here’s one piece of evidence.
A Telegram channel called South First Responders, which has been distributing shocking footage from scenes on kibbutzim and other areas devastated in Saturday’s attack, claims that soldiers found an flag of the Islamic State terror group on the vest of a terrorist killed during an assault on Kibbutz Sufa, near the Gaza border.
The picture’s authenticity cannot be immediately confirmed.
The flag does appear to be the form of the Islamic battle flag used by ISIS. Because of the popularity of ISIS, a lot of Jihadists have adopted it. ISIS has an affiliate in the Sinai. But it also has a presence in Gaza.
When we talk about Hamas or any Islamic terrorist group as if it were a single whole, it’s often misleading. We’re really looking at a global Jihadist movement that is both less and more than the sum of its parts, committed to a single vision, but made up of smaller militia groups and often linked to various families, clans and tribal operations.
It is likely that the Hamas assault drew on Jihadists beyond Gaza. We know Iran was involved, but it’s starting to look like a full spectrum of Jihadists were as well.